Archive for April, 2010

Bruins GM quietly smiling
April 27, 2010

No member of the Bruins organization took more heat this past season for the up and down play of the team than General manager Peter Chiarelli. He traded the teams only real sniper in Phil Kessel. He didn’t pull off the big deal at the trading deadline. Injuries didn’t help as the team was on the verge of not making the playoffs….But he did make a relatively under the radar minor deal signing Miroslav Satan who was basically out of hockey after last year helping the Penguins win a Stanley Cup.

The signing of Satan this past January, at the time, didn’t excite too many people, until this past week. All Satan did was score the winning goal in double overtime last Wednesday and then last night score the series clinching goal. Not bad. Somewhere Chiarelli has a big big grin. He won’t step forward and say I told you so but that deal to bring Satan here has proven to be a pretty big deal, at least in the past week in the playoffs when it counts most.

Can the Bruins win another playoff series? Not many people are giving them a chance against Pittsburgh. But what if Montreal upsets Washington? Then the Bruins would face Philadelphia which had a worse regular season record than the Bruins …For now enjoy the playoff run because in hockey you never really know what can or will happen.

-MD

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Don’t be fooled by Red Sox
April 21, 2010

A much needed win by the Red Sox should not give you the hope that they are out of the woods and their fortunes are going to turn around. Right now they are just not a very good team.

We will remember the night of Darnell McDonald, the career minor leaguer, whose late inning hitting heroics prevented the Red Sox 6th straight loss, but don’t bet on Darnell’s moment as the seasons turning point. David Ortiz and J.D.Drew still cannot hit. Outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron are out of the lineup for another week and Victor Martinez and Jason Variteck can’t throw anybody out on the base paths (29 straight steals by the opposition including 9 last night which ties a 97 year old club record). That last fact just might be the most devastating and needs to be addressed immediately by Theo Epstein.

The next 2 nights the Red Sox face 2 left handed starting pitchers so both Ortiz and Drew should be giving way to Mike Lowell and Jeremy Hermeida (tho Francona will probably only sit them for 1 of the 2 games), so there may be some added production there. The pitching will be better but the opposing baserunners are just warming up. This is a major problem.

Enjoy Darnell’s big night for now but be realistic. The Red Sox are a flawed team, right now anyway.

-MD

A Celtic Loss is a big win
April 17, 2010

So you think that sitting 5 players in their last regular season game was done for rest only. Think long, long term as did Danny Ainge.

The Celtics, on Monday, by virtue of their 9th best record in the NBA were looking at the 22nd pick in this years draft. With 2 straight losses to Chicago and Milwaukee to end the season, the Celtics would still end up with no worse than the 9th best record, BUT, could be tied with as many as 3 other teams with the 9th best record (if those 3 teams won an additional game to give them 50 wins as well).

The 9th best record translates into the 22nd pick in the NBA draft, unless of course, you are tied with another team or 2, or in this case -3 other teams (San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Portland) which is actually where the Celtics ended up with after 2 losses to finish the regular season. Are you still with me? Intrigued?

So, a tie requires a flip of the coin, or 3 flips in this case, to see who ends up with the 22nd pick, the 21st pick, the 20th, and last but certainly not least in this case- the 19th pick.

The Coin flip was held yesterday and in a small make-up for not winning the NBA draft lottery for Kevin Durrant 3 years ago- the Celtics won. So because of those last 2 losses, the Celtics move up 3 spots in the draft which could be the difference between the unheard of Victor Claver picked #22 in 2009 by Portland, and 3 pretty good point guards in Darren Collison(Hornets), Eric Maynor(Jazz), and Jeff Teague(Hawks) who were picked right before Claver. 

To pick a better example how about Cleveland’s very active forward J J Hickson picked #19 in ’09  instead of Alexis Ajinca picked by Charlotte right afterwards. 2006 might speak the loudest for an example- The Celtics selected Rajon Rondo at #21 while New jersey picked Marcus Williams at #22. Then again it comes down to the ability of those who are drafting because if that same draft was evaluated now, Rondo would be selected no lower than #5.

You’ll hear a lot more about this later when the Draft gets closer but this is one case where a loss, or in this case 2 losses, were big wins, or could certainly turn out to be.

-MD

 pick

sneak into a 4 team tie for the 9th best record, or the 23rd pick and with a luck of the flip of the coin could end with the

Touching all the Bases, something the Red Sox are NOT doing.
April 16, 2010

Our Boys of summer are playing like just that, that their season doesn’t really start until the summer. I know we’re just 9 games (4-5) into the season but so far the bats of Ortiz, J.D.Drew(even worse) and Victor Martinez are as cold as winter and tonight they will be greeted with winter like temperatures in the low 40’s at Fenway. 

We’ll see if Josh Beckett can keep the speedy Tampa Bay rays off the bases while getting a little support. Thank goodness for Jeremy Hermeida (.294) and of course Dustin Pedroia who is off to an MVP start with a .405 average along with 4 HR’s.

-The Bruins, Can’t say last night’s 2-1 playoff opening loss to Buffalo surprised anyone. We all know that this series is going to be low scoring and that poor Tuukka Rask cannot afford any mistakes. Better pitch a shutout Tuukka.

-The Celtics, The most often asked question is can the Celtics turn it on for the playoffs. But to be able to turn it on means you have the power there to turn on. That remains the much bigger question. Garnett is who he is right now-a good power forward but he’s not going to get any better. His biggest problem is that he has not strength, or at least confidence in his leg which is not 100% from surgery last off-season. Thank goodness the C’s 1st round opponent has Jermaine O’Neill who is as weak as Garnett (or weaker) and Michael Beasely who is not exactly a brain surgeon.

The biggest question surrounding the Celtics is what exactly are they going to get out of paul Pierce who has looked about 45-50 years old more often that 33, at least in the 2nd half of the season….oh, and then there’s Rasheed, who I believe, despite being out of shape, is going to be a valuable contributor to the Celtics playoff run. Now I didn’t say he he’d be great, just better than he has been (and I realize that is not saying much).

It’s why we watch.

-MD

Bob Halloran: Marathon Man (Part IV)
April 14, 2010

(note: Bob is going to provide weekly diaries as he prepares for the Boston Marathon. We’ll provide links to all of the previous posts in each new one, or you can click on the Boston Marathon tag below.)

Read Part I here.

Read Part II here.

Read Part III here.

Just in case I finish the Boston Marathon, there are a few people I’d like to thank. First, I have no idea whom to thank first, because it feels like every piece of advice and support I’ve received has been equally important. For the past three and a half months, I have been obsessed with doing everything exactly right. When you work this hard, you really don’t want to wind up having any regrets. So, I’ve spoken to lots of different people and picked their brains. Everyone who’s run a marathon knows more than I do about running marathons. Everyone who’s tried and failed knows more than I do. Everyone who’s tried and succeeded is a potential role model for me.

So, there’s Tony at the gym who told me to add leg strengthening exercises to my running routine. I absolutely believe the exercises he showed me kept me from getting hurt. Quads, hams, calves – check, check and check. Thanks, Tony.

There’s my wife’s colleague, Peg, who said I should run the last nine miles of the course to familiarize myself with the terrain. She told me to park at the Woodland T-stop, run to Copley, and take the Green Line back to my car. Do it more than once, she said. So, I did. Now, I believe I’m more prepared for the mental challenges of Heartbreak Hill and beyond. Thanks, Peg.

To my tennis partner, J.P., who lent me his water belt, thanks. I’ve had it with me on all of my long runs. It’s a Velcro belt with holsters for four water bottles. I’ll have it with me on race day, so I can keep hydrated without having to stop for water. I hate stopping. It’s too hard to start again.

Certainly, I couldn’t have gotten to the starting line without the fine men and women in the Lower Mills Running Club. They’ve been running together for years, and they welcomed me as one of their own. They run early, and they run far. And their stress free training program really helped me to relax. I hope they all do well on Monday, and I can’t wait for the post-race BBQ. Pasta salad is on me.

My friend and sports producer, Mike, who’s running his third Boston and fourth marathon overall was kind enough to let me pepper him with questions for the past few months. He showed me a great calf stretch which he attributed to Mike Lynch, and he told me about the Gatorade Endurance and the GU gel packs. Also, without knowing it, Mike motivated me to start this crazy thing in the first place. By the way, Kevin from the running club is the one who told me about the chocolate GU which is much better than the strawberry banana flavor I started with.

Kristen at New Balance set me up with a terrific pair of running shoes, other apparel and a watch that tracks my mile times. As an accomplished marathoner herself, she also offered consistently beneficial advice and encouragement throughout the training process. Thanks, Kristen.

Liz Brunner told me about the high potassium in coconut water. David Brown told me to eat ten bananas a week. And I think it was Mike Wankum who told me to get my water at the end of the water lines instead of the beginning. Thanks, guys.

J.P., who’s going to be waiting for me at mile 19 with a bottle of Gatorade, told me to squeeze the cups of water so they’ll be easier to pour. Wankum told me to keep the water in my mouth for a moment before swallowing which will help to avoid choking. Little tips like that are not little at all.

Bill with the state police invited me to ride on one of their buses that take us right up to the starting line also sends informational emails about diet, training, wardrobe, and etiquette. The emails are funny, too. Thanks, Bill.

Of course, my wife gets tremendous thanks for accommodating my training schedule, for putting up with the incessant smell of Ben Gay, and for a couple of long, deep massages. My daughter rolled my calves with a rolling pin more than once. She thought that was pretty weird, but now she’s being thanked in an on-line blog. So, there’s that.

To everyone who’s offered an encouraging word, and to the crowds who will cheer me and thousands of others on to the finish line, thank you. It helps more than you know.

And if I happen to not finish the race, my appreciation remains unabated. If that unfortunate result occurs, my effort will be in question, not yours. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Tiger SHOULD play well
April 9, 2010

He has had ALOT of time to practice hasn’t he? besides that 45 day stint in Rehab, that is.

So should Tiger’s 1st 2 rounds of 4 under par 68 and 2 under par 70 (which at this time puts him just 4 shots back of the leader) really be that big of a surprise? Both rounds were played under pretty good weather conditions on a course that Tiger has dominated more than any other golfer over the past 14 years.  I understand that he had not played a competitive round of golf in 144 days but he has had alot of time to practice.

Personally I thought 60-year-old Tom Watson’s 1st round 5 under par 67 was much more impressive. 50-year-old Fred Couples 66 wasn’t bad either but I digress-back to the topic of the day-El Tigre.

The crowds (at the Masters they’re called patrons, please) were a little too cordial (wait until he plays a tournament in New York) for my liking but our society has turned into one that is in awe of celebrities, even ones who have not lived an admirable personal life. On the course Tiger was Tiger. Off the course in the press conferences afterwards he was also the same old Tiger-brief, controlled, robotic. A changed more friendly person?-I don’t think so.

The single most disturbing thing I saw at the 1st round of the Masters was the sight of Tigers same personal agent, Mark “Steiny” Steinberg by Tiger’s side. Like this guy didn’t know most everything Tiger was doing on the side the past number of years? How Tiger’s wife Elin allows this is unfathomable. This guy has always put himself on the same level (or above)  Tiger and obviously has not paid any price for enabling Tiger’s transgressions. That cannot  bode well for Elin’s say in Tiger’s personal life.

-MD

BC Picks Donahue
April 6, 2010

Sources tell SportsCenter 5 Cornell’s Steve Donahue will be named head basketball coach at Boston College.

A news conference is expected Wednesday afternoon.

Donahue led the Big Red to a 29-5 record this season, including the Ivy League title, and a run to the Sweet Sixteen, where Cornell eventually lost to #1 seed Kentucky.

Donahue took over the Cornell program in the 2000-2001 season, and posted a 146-138 (.514) record in 10 seasons, including Ivy League titles and trips to the NCAA Tournament each of the last three years.

He replaces Al Skinner, who was fired last week after leading Boston College to a 247-165 (.600) record over 13 seasons.

Impressions of Opening Day
April 5, 2010

-Pedro? Interesting selection for 1st pitch. Hugging Alex Rodriguez? You could always expect the unexpected from Pedro.

-Little Kid imitating USA Coach Herb Brooks speech from the movie miracle. The Red Sox can do alot better than that including an inappropriate “screw ’em” from a 5 year old. His parants can also do alot better than allowing their kid to watch the movie 150 times as well (but that’s another story for another time/forum) 

-Red Sox 2 best players?- Youkilis and Pedroia-their 2 home grown products. These guys can hit the ball.

-Most likeable newcomers (since the overall most likeable remains Mike Lowell) -Mike Cameron followed quickly by Bill Hall.

-Biggest Concern? -same as last season-middle relief, Ramon Ramirez ERA during spring training was over 8.00. Why should we have expected anything different?

-2nd biggest concern -David Ortiz

-Most sure thing-Daniel “97 mph” Bard coming into the 8th inning and keeping the opponents scoreless.

-Most satisfying part of Opening Day -Alex Rodriguez going 1-5 and looking rather slow (and soft) running down the 1st base line. Amazing what the lack of ‘Roids does to a body and it’s performance.

-MD